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tv   CBS 5 Eyewitness News at 11  CBS  March 10, 2011 11:00pm-11:35pm PST

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finish, the diamond standard. you're watching cbs 5 eyewitness news in high definition. and we begin with breaking news out of japan. good evening, i'm dana king. >> a massive earthquake in japan. magnitude 8.8. those are live pictures of the tsunami that is rolling through cities and neighborhoods right now as it's happening. >> you can see in this water, there are buildings, there are rooftops, boats, vehicles, it's incredibly deep at this point. this quake struck just less than 90 minutes ago off the north eastern coast of japan. >> we've had seismograph, a tsunami watch is in effect.
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a tsunami watch is not as severe as a tsunami warning. we want to go to robert lyles who is monitoring the coverage. these are amazing pictures half way around the world. we are getting them live. entire cities are being inundated by water. >> you are watching tsunami waves. they swept into the city, where it is already 4:00 in the afternoon. now television cameras were rolling as those waves swept in from what is now an 8.8 magnitude quake. these waves cars, trucks, houses, even buildings. we stay live with these images. let me offer you background information. japan's agency is warning that a tsunami as high as 20 feet could strike the coast near miagi, which is closest to the epicenter. offer you perspective on the raw power of this 8.8 quake.
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it is 240 miles from tokyo and still buildings shook violently in that city. workers poured on to the street. there are confirmed sitings of buildings on fire. we saw a little bit of that at the top of our show and huge smoke plumes. let me offer some clarification. japanese meteorologists are calling this quake a 7.9, but just within the past 45 minutes, the u.s. upgraded that to 8.8. japanese television network showed employees stumbling around as books and papers came crashing down on them. the tsunami threat is not limited to japan. for a better understanding of what that means, we go live to roberta gonzalez who is standing by. roberta. >> i am getting off the television from the west coast.
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in addition, i verified this with the national weather service. they have not even had the time to print this out yet, but now in effect, a tsunami watch for the entire west coast. this does include from the canadian, washington border as far south as california and the mexican border. so indeed now a tsunami watch in effect for the san francisco bay coastline. what does that mean? we just don't know at this particular time yet. this is a fluid situation in which the national weather service, the tsunami center are watching the bowies and as the waves approach the bowies, we'll get a good indication on the height, the size of these waves as they head towards the west coast. what we do know is in a case like this, we will see higher surf. we will also experience some minor title fluxuation. at this particular time, it is not a warning, which means it is imminent. this is a tsunami watch in
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effect for the entire coastline of the state of california and what that means, we are keeping a watchful eye on the situation. high tides, high surf will be heading this way. at this particular time, robert, it is not an emergency situation. i'm going to go ahead and jump back on the telephone right now with the west coast and alaska earthquake tsunami warning center and get updates. let's reiterate some of the facts. this 8.8 earthquake struck at 2:46 local time. that was friday afternoon for japan. that was 9:46 our time. you are watching live images coming out of live japanese network. it is showing tsunami waves rushing into the city. let's go live to their coverage in english right now. >> soon after the quake, the agency is warning the tsunami could be between 6 and 8- meters. you are seeing some of the
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damage so far where some of the homes have been flooded when the tsunami went up stream a river. according to the transport ministry, the international airport reopened two of its four runways. the airport has three opened, two of its four runways. the airport had earlier closed all runways. the airport has reopened two of its four runways. the japan road traffic information center, the japan road information center and police say expressways around tokyo and north eastern japan have been closed. the japan road traffic information center and police say expressways have been
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closed. according to the elevator, it assumes that most elevators came to a holt in the region affected by the disaster. according to the elevator, it assumes most elevators came to a halt, affected by the disaster. at the moment, the company has been collecting information about mechanical shuttles. >> now again, you are listening to live and watching live coverage from nhk japanese television network of the 8.8 earthquake that is struck the area. you can see tsunami waves sweeping into farmland in the area, which is 240 miles from tokyo. right now, we have no confirmed reports of injury or death, but we have been able to verify through these live images that there are in fact fires. we do know there has been fires as far away as tokyo, which is 240 miles away from the epicenter and those waves continue to devour this area.
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this is an absolutely unbelievable scene. an 8.8 magnitude earthquake. it was initially reported as a 7.9 earthquake. that information came in from japanese meteorologists. but once the usgs weighed in, it was quickly upgraded to an 8.8. that happened just about an hour ago. we are continuing to track the details of this earthquake and we will certainly bring you much more as it breaks and becomes available. >> robert, i'm up here on the news set. we are watching the same pictures you are coming in from nhk. there's a little discrepancy about how big the quake initially was and part of that is due to the fact that the japanese have a different quake scale than we do here in the united states. theirs goes from 0 to 7 and it can go in incriminates in 7. but it's not the same as what we use here, which is a magnitude reading and it's different.
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usgs is weighted and they estimated at 8.8. these are amazing pictures and what is really spooky about this is there are buildings floating on that water. you know that water is deep enough to support structures that are floating and also, if they pull back again, you'll see cars on the roadway that are trying to escape this thing. people on rooftops. >> you can see in the center of that video right now, that appears to be a truck, maybe a bus. two of them in the center of your screen completely being moved almost like paper on this water. you are absolutely right. the current has to be amazing to sweep those buildings off their foundation. this water is moving quickly. you have to imagine if you were on foot, you would be defenseless. >> at this juncture, we have not heard any estimates of injuries or possible death. now the video we are seeing from the choppers is that this
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water is moving over mostly from what we are able to see, farmland. obviously in the water, there is debris from houses, buildings, vehicles, boats we have seen. but we have not gotten any estimates of any injuries or potential deaths at this point. >> we have seen and had reports coming in from japan that buildings have collapsed. >> what is frightening, the image that the chopper just captured. that seemed to be some highway or expressway in that frame and those waves were moving close to that expressway. you have to imagine that the folks on that roadway likely don't know that these tsunami waves are coming. here's another live look. it's unclear exactly what city this is. this is video from earlier when the tsunami wave first struck the area. you can see those waves, it's coming in. >> absolutely. pushing the boats directly into
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this one. crashes into the overpass. this is an absolutely unbelievable scene. this had to be frightening for those standing. those reports of things crashing down on top of them. >> there's a rare sight. you are seeing a tsunami coming ashore right there. i believe this was shot earlier. >> is this live right now what we are seeing. >> this is a second wave of water coming in, or a third wave. we don't know how many. >> we do know that japanese meteorologists were expecting there to be a tsunami wave as high as 20 feet. because this is being shot from the air, we don't have a clear idea how high those waves are, but apparently they are dangerous. roberta gathered more information. >> i spoke with paul and the studier of the west coast and alaska tsunami warning center. he says california and san
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francisco bay area should expect waves about 10 hours after that initial earthquake did begin. which was about 9:46 our time. so you tag on ten hours to that, that's when we'll begin to see the higher waves here. there's no word yet on how big these waves will be, but it's a tsunami watch in effect for the entire west coast of california. the entire coastline from the canada, washington border all the way to the california mexican border. this is nothing to be alarmed of at this particular time because it is a tsunami watch. it is not a warning. which means it is imminent. >> we're going to go live back to ken and dana in the studio. >> thanks for keeping us updated. we are looking at these amazing pictures and this looks like another set of waves. another tsunami that is going hit this. this is the miagi area. i'm not really sure. we are going to talk to grace.
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grace lee is with us. you are fresh from hawaii here. i know in hawaii, tsunamis, you know, because of the region are something that people drill for and are worried about. >> so what's going on there right now from what you can tell us? >> i talked briefly with a couple of friends, everyone is being called back in. they honestly don't know anything except there is a tsunami watch for the region and they are predicting that it could hit hawaii if it's coming that way around 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. their time. they are very concerned and you know, more than a year ago, you remember the very large chile january earthquake that happened last february. we had a tsunami scare that time, but the question here is because we were expecting something to come in and it was very minor, it was very minor. you know, we are worried that people in hawaii may not take
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this as seriously because last time it was a problem. >> what kind of precautions do people under fake? >> in hawaii, every single phone book has areas and show you the most dangerous places to be. the low laying areas on the coast. you look to see where you live inland and higher ground if you think you are in a tsunami area. you also have beaches. there is always that crazy person. maybe this is happening at night, we won't see that. >> given the fact it is 8:15 in hawaii right now. so people are obviously glued to they're tv sets, and water continues to come ashore. you do the math. you say 2:00 to 3:00 in the morning before something were to hit the hawaiian island machine. i would be packing my suitcase.
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>> that's a good thing about hawaii. everyone there is family. you head to your relative's. a former anchor, howard, are you with us? >> yeah, i'm here. >> so, has there been any sense that this is imminent? are people moving away from the coastal areas at snow fall do we know? >> i don't know yet. i am watching the same images you are watching. it was just last february. they put out that big warning here and people got nervous. yet people out on surf boards. so the biggest concern now is obviously okay. are people going to take it seriously? but there's a serious feeling watching the images because you start to realize that this is real and this is not anything that is just a fictitious theme
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that is being played out. we are watching the waves and frankly, it's frightening because my home is pretty much at sea level. it's a quarter mile away from the ocean. does it matter if you are on the struggle? >> the other question that you have to start to consider is what about the tourists you were talking about moments ago? because at some point, somebody has to pull that trigger and say we need to evaluate wikiki. now you have upwards of 60 to 70 people. it's the other islands. so when do you start -- that's the question. when do you pull the trigger and say we are going into full warning mode? but i think you are right. people aren't taking it seriously. >> are there any sirens or anything like that? grace was saying it's just a watch right now, but are there
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sirens that can go off that allow the warning fees is imminent. i know there's a number of bowies out there that can see this thing coming, but has that started at all? >> you are absolutely right. there's the tsunami warning system and they teffs the sirens. they are huge and lout sirens. echo throughout every valley and crevase of the state. they do test them on the first of every month. it was tested a matter of days ago. at this point, inned no warnings, i live on the other side of the island. but no warning so far. the local news is on. they have been doing cut ins regularly and i'm watching some of the cable channels and seeing some of the images that you are. you hit it right on the head.
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we are watching something we have never seen before. see a live tsunami of this magnitude. we all saw what happened in indonesia many years ago, and it is just heart wrenching to watch this. it's shocking, truly. >> howard, thank you so much. take care out in hawaii. >> thanks. it's also interesting in hawaii because it's an island. wherever you have these watches, people tend to horde. they go to the stores and buy out the bottles of water, paper toy els. right now, i'm about two hours watching. >> you look at what happens during hurricanes, you want to stock up. these four people in japan right now, it could be weeks before any of that is inhabitable again. >> we have a use. i think the first question is,
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please explain to our viewers the difference in these numbers we're hearing about. the size of this earthquake. >> well first and fore most, we did speak with one of the staff members here at the office and their initial reaction was that this was a very big quake. in fact, this is the grass of what is going on in japan right now. you are looking at a live graph of after shots and you see one wild swing. this is ming in live as we speak. when you compared lines to everything else, everything else hails in comparison. while they have live information that is coming into their office. it is getting late. we are joined by lesli gore dan. she is with the public appears office. we have seen soom some of the numbers change. >> our best magnitude is $1.9. it's not uncommon for us to r
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revied our estimates. initially we thought it was 7 something. as we get more signals, we will revise our estimate to $18.9. >> is there a chance it could be bigger than that? >> as big as it is. it is still possible that we may revise the number as we get more data and understand better exactly what happened. >> and i know that it's a completely different agency that handles a tsunami warning. what can you say about a magnitude this big in terms how it will affect the ways it 4 protect the coast. noah, who monitors and issues tsunami warnings and we know that has happened. >> and historically, how rare is -- or how important is it
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nine. >> that's very large. there's only a handful around the globe each other. >> and again, thank you so much. we have heard from the pacific warning center that we are expecting the waves to hit 10 hours after this event in japan. it happened about an hour ago, so nine hours from now, we should see some type of waves. we aren't getting any caned cation. >> are they tracking the aftershock that japan is experiencing? do you have any idea how many they have? >> how many words? >> well, we can look that the up online. that's all right. we'll get back to that. >> while you do that, let's go look over at the chart here and
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this thing continues to swing right back and forth here. so we'll check back on the number of aftershots. this is a fluid situation that is coming in as we speak. trying to get aheld of the seismologists. this is the the center that washes events, but we'll bring him by. >> kid at the usgf and thank you for that. we are looking at amazing pictures, world live broadcast. that believe it or not is an i want. if you look over the gage badge. people are there and it is littered with debris, with automobiles, pieces of homes and buildings. there's a buffer on its side. we're going to check in with robert lials and get us the latest. >> that's because the ap is now reporting that initial
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tsunami wave was 13 feet high. and it is expected to get even larger. now we have been counting and since this earthquake struck at 9:46 pacific time, there have been a total of five recharged baby gear. what that means will be 7.1. the latest happened 30 minutes ago. nhk, the japanese television network is warning those to get to higher ground. you saw the people trying to seek some kind of security. some kind of safety at the top of that airport. now we do know the quake stuck at a depth of six miles off of eastern coast. now that area again is 240 miles northeast of tokyo. in the city of tokyo, all trains in. we see a madsive fire burning in the area right now. we don't know specifically what is on fire, but that does look
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like perhaps a refinery or some kind of storage area for chemicals. it's hard to tell right now, but clearly a devastating scene unfolding in japan at this hour. >> this video is incredible. the interesting thing is about japan, that country has built its buildings exceptionally well. what we are seeing now is damage from the tsunami and not necessarily the earthquake itself. we have to keep that in mind. >> that's an island nation surrounded by water, so it didn't take long for the tsunami to hit the land there. we want to go to nhk. their english version and let you listen in for a minute. >> several fires have broken out in tokyo as well. the fire department says fires have been reported in several places, including adiake in central tokyo.
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that is the area where it has been reclaimed land along the coastal areas. right now you are seeing fire breaking out at an oil refinery in chiba. northeast of tokyo. >> helicopters also covering live, where obviously a large tsunami has hit an area engulfing big parts of the city. the tsunami had moved upstream quickly and engulfed the area. you're seeing live footage from the helicopter. where a tsunami has engulfed
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farmland, homes, cars, we do not know the number of casualties at this time. a major earthquake hit japan on friday afternoon about an hour and 40 minutes ago. the magnitude was 8.4. one of the largest earthquakes ever to happen in japan. the agency issued a tsunami warning for japan's pacific coast. that tsunami engulfing the area. a large amount of that area. in north eastern japan, we are going back to live pictures of downtown tokyo. looks like cars are moving along right outside of our nhk studios. we are seeing live footage of tokyo. we are seeing more cars outside. it looks like there could be a bit of a traffic jam.
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we are seeing in downtown at this time. looks like we are seeing more cars than usual during this time. the earthquake has stopped the bullet train across the country and trains around the tokyo area. each japan rail ray says that's all they have been stopped. to the south, southwest, trains from tokyo were stopped for security checks. central japan railway company later said part of the line resumed operation. now the tokyo metro system says all of its lines have been stopped and officials are checking for security. >> the chief of the earthquake -- you are listening
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to nhk world television based out of tokyo and interestingly enough, tokyo is roughly 240 miles away from the epicenter of this quake, yet they are experiencing incredible difficulty there. the fire that we saw at the refinery was located in tokyo. there have been fires there and other issues that they are dealing with as far as 240 miles away. >> officials there have been telling locals to get away from the coast. it's obvious, but you know, when an earthquake like this hits, you may not be able to turn your television on and watch any of this. so people are being told officially to leave the coastal area and get to higher ground. these tsunamis keep rolling in at different islands in the japan set up there and it is indated these areas. some of the live pictures we have gotten and helicopter shots where water is rolling over buildings and picking up
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cars and houses and rolling through farmland and going unchecked and unstopped and heartbreaking to watch. >> this quake hit about two hours ago. less than two hours ago and the usgs here is calling it an 8.9. and since the quake, there have been five aftershocks ranging from 6.3 to 7.1. this country is still rocking and rolling. we are going to go back for an update. ken. >> yes, we are joined by david. he's a seismologist here at the usgs. thank you for joining us today. what have you seen? what have you heard? >> the picture os f the tsunamis are the big picture. the currents, the wave heights, they are phenomenal. they are only second to what i've seen for the quake. estimates of damage are preliminary. we calculated we might be
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seeing losses on your order of $100 billion. i think des estimates are clue at this point, the calculations show a thousand people, but i suspect they will go up when the impact of the tsunami is factored in. this is only from the shaking level and not from the tsunami. they are quite low. >> as far as these aftershocks go, we have seen a half a dozen so far, is that unusual? will you expect to see more out there? >> aftershocks will continue on for months. this is a very large earthquake with an extended rupture area. they were talking hundreds of miles of rupture length. you'll expect to see 6's, 7's occurring for the first week. after that, you'll see shocks for months. >> what act the effects here in the west coast. are we going to see any wave
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activity? >> the people in the warning center are taking the -- as well as the runoffs they have seen in japan and calculating. they don't announce that until three hours from indation. hawaii is going to find out if they will be slimming. >> david, seismologist here, saying this is one of the largest quakes he has ever seen in his career. back to you. >> usgs has to look at a world leader and analyzing the data. they got their hands full. another heart wrenching picture of a couple survivors waving for help. trying to get someone's attention. all around them is water. water that in some cases went 20 feet deep as that tsunami rolled ashore. incredible pictures. we want to check in with
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roberta gonzales who has more information. >> the first initial earthquake to hit that area was on tuesday night roughly around 7:00 our time. that measured a 7.1. since then, they've had nearly 30 aftershocks and then came the big one tonight of 8.8. that happened about 9:46 our time followed by another aftershock. a 7.15. five aftershocks total since 9:46 our time. this is what i have learned just getting off the phone with the national weather service and also conversing with the west coast and alaska earthquake tsunami warning center. together, they are going to have a pow wow. they are discussing the situation right now because it is fluid. what they do know is they have issued a tsunami watch for the entire coastline of california. now this actual stretches all the way up to the washington canadian border and as far
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south as the california mexican border. so obviously san francisco is included in this. what does that mean for us here locally? right now what we can tell, ten hours from the initial earthquake at 9:46, that means we are going to be experiencing higher surf. how high? we are monitoring the bowies in hawaii and that will help determine our waves. also, we should notice a minor fluxuation. this will happen friday morning and i'm going to get on the phone with this. >> roberta, thank you so much. we can report while we have been tracking for the past 30 minutes, if there have been any injuries. we can say now in tokyo, it's 240 miles away. a large hole, the ceiling of a large hall has collapsed. there are in fact a number of people injured in that building and unconfirmed number right now and it is also unconfirmed
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if that has resulted in any fatalities, back to you. >> we want to advise people to keep it close to cbs 5 and also cbs as we get updates throughout the evening. we'll pass them on to you and of course we will be kicking off our early edition at 4:30 tomorrow morning, so we want to invite you to get the latest on this incredible disaster going on in japan as we speak with our early news coming up at 4:30. >> is this a quake that has raised a magnitude from 8.4 to 8.9 according to the usgf. it happened at 2:46 japan time, which was 9:46 our time. the tsunami has rolled over hundreds of acres of land and we have no idea of the casualties or the extense -- how extensive this has been and how far it rolled into the country. so


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